Nine ways to master mindful eating
Take control of your diet – and your kitchen – with these simple food ideas. Mindful eating is more than just a healthy menu after all.
Have your fruit on display
Research by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in the US found that women who reported having a highly visible fruit bowl weighed about 6kg less than those who didn’t.
Dietitian Kate Di Prima recommends cutting up fruit and storing it in the fridge. Then it’s always the first thing you see when you go hunting for a snack.
“Eye level is buy level – and research shows that renowned snackers, like kids and men, are more likely to eat fruit if it’s been cut up for them.”
The kitchen doesn’t need a sound system …
Take the earphones out and turn the radio down if you want to make healthy meal decisions.
There are increasing studies linking loud music to overeating and bad food choices. A recent US study found hearing yourself eat can limit calorie intake. Scientists call it “the crunch effect”.
… or a television
Even if you are watching a show about 100 ways with quinoa, chances are you will overeat if you are in front of the TV.
A University of Liverpool study found people who ate while distracted consumed 10 percent more at the time and up to 25 percent more later in the day. Apparently the distraction makes us miss signs of being full.
Flowers help health bloom
Your mental health can also be affected by your kitchen design. A behavioural study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed people feel happier and more energetic after looking at flowers first thing in the morning.
And the researchers found a kitchen with a display of flowers was the room that had the biggest impact on mood.
Colour yourself healthy
The hue of your plate can influence how many calories you consume. Brian Wansink, professor and Cornell Food and Brand Lab director, says diners serve themselves up to 30 percent more if food matches the colour of the plate.
So … if you want to eat more greens, use green plates. But if you want to cut back on creamy pastas, don’t use the white dinner set.
Fast and Fabulous Meal Ideas
Decorate with food inspiration
There’s a reason cookbooks and food mags are so popular. They inspire us to head back into the kitchen and cook.Dietitian Kate Di Prima says the kitchen is the best place to store those healthy cookbooks and foodie mags. “Tear out your favourite nutritious recipes from food magazines and stick them on your fridge or splashback for an ongoing source of gastronomic inspiration,” she adds.
Join the Small Plate Movement
Yep, there is an online campaign encouraging all eaters to use smaller plates, bowls and even spoons. The growth in our waist circumference can be directly aligned with an increase in the size of our dinner plates.
The Cornell University research claims that eating off a 25cm plate for a year instead of the standard 30cm one could lead to a weight loss of 8kg for the average adult.
Set up personalised snack boxes
Dietitian Kate Di Prima says named food boxes in the fridge or pantry can stop the mindless foraging for snacks. “Call it ‘Kids’ Food’ and put in core snacks like cut-up fruit and veg, cheese and crackers, healthy muffins, and that’s the place the kids will always look when they are hungry,” she says.
Hide high sugar, empty carb snacks in your cupboards
The type of food you have on display could add 9kg to your weight, a US study has found. And the biggest calorie culprit was breakfast cereal, with women more likely to be bigger.
“It’s your basic See-Food Diet – you eat what you see,” according to Professor Brian Wansink, who led the study and wrote Slim by Design, a book about how our environments influence weight.
So the message here is to hide high-sugar, empty-carb snacks in your cupboards.